6 Must-Dos for the Next Performance Review

Here's how to get truly prepared for these important meetings, in mind and attitude. Remember the whole agenda is ultimately for the employee's benefit.

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By Marty Fukuda

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If you're a seasoned veteran of management, you've likely conducted your fair share of performance reviews. But as is the case with any activity performed repeatedly, giving a review can become a rote activity stripped of effectiveness.

For your next performance review of an employee, keep in mind these six keys to ensure that you're getting the most of your time -- and the staffer's:

Related: Inspire Performance by Providing Optimum Feedback

1. Set and shape expectations.

One of the most important things to do as a leader is to establish with all employees what you expect of them. Each team member needs to fully understand the standards he or she is accountable for meeting.

When reviewing a veteran worker, revisit expectations you haven't addressed in a while.

2. Encourage.

Everyone needs encouragement, yet most employees probably don't receive enough. This is a truth that should push leaders to take action.

Make a point of maintaining an encouraging tone throughout your one-on-one reviews. It often helps to have at least one compliment or positive piece of feedback in mind prior to each evaluation.

Related: 5 Ways HR Technology Can Improve Performance Reviews

3. Listen.

A review isn't only an opportunity for you to share how you feel an employee is performing. More important, it's a way for you to understand how your staffer feels he or she is doing.

A great review should be a balanced conversation between two professionals. Prepare a list of questions that prompt the staff person to discuss his or her view of the work task execution. When you ask the questions, focus intently on really listening to the answers.

As always, take sufficient notes to help you prepare and write questions for the next review.

4. Put the employee in a position to succeed.

Take a minute and ask yourself this simple question,: Have I done everything that I can within reason to put this employee in a position to succeed?

If the answer is "no" -- and you're not completely satisfied with the employee's productivity -- then you are part of the reason.

As such, you also must be part of the solution. Acknowledge it. Doing so will help tremendously in your joint effort to right the ship.

5. Establish regular check-ins.

Although many employees prefer to not to be micromanaged, they often like having consistent communication with a supervisor about their performance.

To stay on top of performance mini-reviews, take time at the end of each review to schedule your next meeting.

6. Help advance the employee's goals, not yours.

Leaders are too often tasked with a tremendous amount of challenges and obstacles. It's easy to lose sight of objectives when the individual in question is sitting right in front of you. Yet this meeting is about the employee and for the employee -- so put your mind in the right place prior to the start of a performance review. This should yield a more productive meeting and a stronger connection between supervisor and team member.

Related: Stop Delaying: 3 Surefire Ways to Do Employee Reviews Properly

Marty Fukuda

Chief Operating Officer of N2 Publishing

Chicago native Marty Fukuda is the chief operating officer of N2 Publishing, overseeing operations at its corporate headquarters in Wilmington, N.C. He first joined the company as an area director in 2008 after working in the direct sales and print industries. 

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